Vandals dominate New Mexico St., 55-23

Idaho had no problems beating New Mexico State winning, 55-23.

MOSCOW, Idaho – The Idaho Vandals had one of those days that will last for a long time in their memories – the offense was on fire, the defense was suffocating, and they all were resilient when things didn't go quite right at the start of the game.

"Today we were rolling on all 11," coach Paul Petrino said after the Vandals improved to 4-3 overall, 2-1 in the Sun Belt with the 55-23 victory. "It was fun. It was fun calling plays today."

No doubt. With the exception of an interception that ended the Vandals' first drive, almost everything quarterback Matt Linehan tried went right. He finished the night with the fourth-most passing yards (476) in school history by completing 29 of 36 throws. For the first time since 2010, Idaho had three receivers (Deon Watson for 129, Alfonso Onunwor for 117 and Jordan Frysinger for 102) with 100-yard-plus games as the Vandals had their highest point total since a 58-point outing in 2003.

The way the Vandals responded after the first-drive interception, was what Petrino and his staff have been preaching to them all along.

"They have some skills," Petrino said of the Aggies. "They're going to make some big plays on us. When they do, we just can't blink."

The players took the message to heart.

"We believe. We all believe. We all bought in," defensive tackle Tueni Lupemanu said. "Don't flinch when something bad happens."

"We were staying confident in ourselves," quarterback Matt Linehan said. "It was confidence in every phase of the game. O-line has done a really good job the last two weeks of keeping me upright. The receivers just made plays today."

Idaho had 651 yards total offense with a balanced running attack to complement the passing game.

Defensively, the Vandals had five sacks among their nine tackles for loss. Jayshawn Jordan and Kaden Elliss had eight tackles each.


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